Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fav 5 - My Five Favourite Writing Things


At this juncture, my preferred writing utensil (Computer # 1 or Kitchen computer as it has somehow chosen to dub itself) is the good old desktop. Sure, it sits atop a desk and requires a chair which combine to occupy a full third of my study, but the screen is large enough to see a vast swathe of any story at one fell glance and the keyboard allows for free range of movement rather than cramped little pecks with fingertips.

My netbook is beloved, a pert carry on for business and pleasure trips, but, in my book, it still qualifies as a fashion accessory rather than a real utensil. It will do for the pinched confines of a train yet my hand never reaches for it at home.


One of my hobbies is purchasing journals—you know, those funky, flashy, frilly or just simply cool ones they sell at book and stationary stores. I probably have about a dozen lying in wait for me, ready for when I finish my current tapestry-covered model.

I jot down ideas for future writing in my journals, along with names for characters and places, bits of dialogue I imagine a character yet uncreated saying or great phrases that would make good book or short story titles. Often, I have come up with a strong title first and then written the story to fit.

It typically takes me a year or more to finish a single journal. I have about a dozen completed ones, dating back to my adolescence. I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I sign my name on the last page and tuck it into my closet to gather dust.

I don’t read my journals again. The ideas are kind of like a savings account for future days when I fear running out of ideas. Don’t worry; there’s no harm of that right now!

Technology will come and go but, for me, the sheer tactile enjoyment of a journal and pen will never be replaced.

Flash drive:

With the many computers I use everyday (from desk top to laptop to netbook to work computer) I need a quick and easy way to ease myriad versions of files from one to another. For a long time, I stuck to the old plastic contain with a floppy disk or two trapped within. Now, several flash drives later, I wonder why I was hanging onto the fragile, noisy and eternally short-on-space dinosaur when the new species had arisen to conquer all former technology.

Now, all four computers fit comfortably on my dog tag look-alike flash drive with plenty of space to spare. My back up for all of my computers is a tiny pink vault and my cute pink-ribboned black drive has now been handed down to my mother, the digital photo snapper, to discourage her from saving these masterpieces on her camera itself. Truly, technology is old and established when it has been passed up to a senior generation.


Okay, not technically a ‘writing thing’, more of a reading thing in fact, but I cannot finish up without referring to my favourite treasured bookmarks of past and present.

My first favourite bookmark was a Garfield astrological sign one about Geminis (my sign, of course). I can’t remember the exact quote but it started off with a string of complimentary adjectives and ended with “the kind of person you love…to hate”. I loved that bookmark! I used it constantly until I either lost it or tucked it away for safekeeping, ultimately from myself.

My favourite from recent memory is a row of postage stamps encased in hard plastic. I like the fact that it is only incidentally a bookmark but somehow classic than shoving an envelop or paper napkin between the pages of your book. It’s also pretty enough to please my aesthetic needs without overpowering its functionality (I am not fond of dangling ribbons or strings—worse yet, with beads attached). My favourite bookmark is small, strong and nearly indestructible, for while I am careful with my books, I am less so with other items.

Tote bag: 

Confession: I collect tote bags. They’re cheap (my most expensive was $20.00) and space saving, occupying a flat space atop a box in my closet compared to the many feet of shelf space dedicated to my handbags. They’re environmental, ready to be rolled up in a ball until needed and they’re individual, each loudly proclaiming a different view—from my musical tastes to the places I’ve been and seen.

I have a tote bag from almost every rock concert I’ve attended in the past few years (Blue Rodeo and Crowded House come to mind) and from writer’s festivals where I conveniently use them to stash my latest literary journal finds—festivals often sell packaged lots of last year’s editions at a great discount. Thrown in the mix are a few chain store versions that look pseudo-funky and I am good to go.

I take a tote bag along to each of my monthly writing group meetings since they are the perfect size to hold a big notebook, a few pages of manuscripts and a book or two to be borrowed or lent that month. I like the casualness of a tote around the shoulder rather than a handbag clutched in palm. I also like the free form nature of a tote, meant to stretch and fit rather than dictate the terms of its contents with zippered pockets and compartments. The books and pens and keys must coexist together in a milieu rather than skulk, each in its own corner. A handbag is for work and its order while a tote is for me and my own way of doing things.

Photo courtesy of Phiseksit at

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